Innovation Vouchers – A New Service for Small and Medium Enterprises

Posted in: News- Dec 21, 2017

Belgrade, December 21, 2017 – Today the Innovation Fund announced a public call for the award of innovation vouchers. The innovation vouchers are a new financial support mechanism for small and medium-sized enterprises that use the services of the scientific research sector with the aim of raising the level of innovation of their products and becoming more competitive on the market.

All interested micro, small and medium-sized enterprises will be able to apply for the innovation vouchers worth up to RSD 800,000 for obtaining the services from public scientific research organizations to solve the technological problems they encounter in their business (for example, to develop new or improve existing products, make demonstration prototypes and do various types of testing). An innovation voucher covers up to 80% of the total service costs and the companies are obliged to co-finance the remaining amount, including VAT.

The public call is open until May 21, 2018 or until the allocated funds of 24 million dinars are spent. The vouchers will be awarded in theorder of received applications, within seven days from the date of submission of the application by the company.

This service is one of the services within the Innovation Fund Technology Transfer Program, withpurpose to encourage the transfer of public research results to the private sector to create products and services that will improve the economy. This was today presented in the presence of high officials of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, the European Union Delegation and the World Bank.

“We have identified the key challenges of science and innovation in Serbia, we know that without a strong link between science and the economy there can be no social progress, and therefore we want to bring the innovations closer to the market, which implies continuous investment in innovation support programs. For the Innovation Voucher Program in the pilot phase, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development has allocated 24 million dinars, based on the Loan Agreement between the Republic of Serbia and the World Bank through the “Project for Improving Competitiveness and Employment”, said Mr. Mladen Šarčević, Minister of Education, Science and Technological Development.

“The idea is to financially support the companies that want to innovate, in cooperation with faculties and institutes, something in their business system – a product, a process, an organizational structure – because today’s innovation is tomorrow’s competitive company, and further the visible impact on the growth of the Serbian economy”, said Mr. Nenad Popović, Minister of Innovation and Technological Development. According to him, the scientific research community of Serbia has shown that it has excellence, but it should now show that it also has relevance, and is important for the society in which it exists, especially for its economy.

“The innovation vouchers are a new mechanism to support businesses in cooperating with scientific research organizations to become more innovative and more competitive on the market. The program is now in its pilot phase, but we believe it will yield good results and be in the continuous offer of the Fund to companies. The Fund has managed to encourage, through its overall programs, the scientific research community and businesses to actively participate in the implementation of innovation projects, thus creating an inseparable connection, all for the purpose of creating a competitive Serbian economy”, said Mr. Ivan Rakonjac, Director of the Innovation Fund.

Besides the high officials of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, the speakers also included Mr. Dejan M. Šuvakov, Program Manager at the European Union Delegation to the Republic of Serbia, Mr. Duško Vasiljević, Private Sector Development Expert in the World Bank, while Mr. Mlađan Stojanović, Technology Transfer Program Coordinator in the Innovation Fund presented the procedures and requirements for applying and using the innovation vouchers.

The design and procedures for the implementation of the innovation voucher scheme have been prepared through the project “Support to Research, Innovation and Technology Transfer” supported by EU IPA funds for 2013 and administered by the World Bank, while the funds for implementation have been provided from the budget of the Government of the Republic of Serbia from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development and through the “Project for Improvement of Competitiveness and Employment” (a Loan Agreement between the Republic of Serbia and the World Bank).

Applications available on: www.inovacionifond.rs/Vouchers